“Ugh!--- UMEME!!” I find myself saying this phrase a lot recently, well at least in my head. UMEME is the local word for power or electricity. And for the last month we have had power twenty four hours on, twenty four hours off- at best. Lame! They call this load shedding.
There are a variety of theories as to why there has been such an increase in power cuts. 1) Uganda, as a country, has an outstanding debt to the power company, which they are unable to pay because the current president used all the allocated money for paying the bill on his presidential campaign at the beginning of the year. 2) There were 3 companies producing power at the Nile river and because of the economic crisis, two went bankrupt. Therefore, there is now only one company producing power for the whole country- in which it is unable to produce enough. 3) Uganda is selling the power to neighboring countries. I don’t even know if this is possible. But none the less, candle light dinners are now a common occurrence and not so romantic :)
So, there a few key things I have learned due to the load shedding. 1) On the nights that you do have power, plug in everything with a rechargeable battery. 2) Oil lamps are more economic than candles. 3) Make sure you check that the light switches are off, otherwise you will get a bright surprise when power returns as you are sleeping. 4) “Missionary midnight” = 9pm now makes sense to me. 5) I am grateful to have power AT LEAST sometimes.